We leave for Rwanda in four days, and still up to this very second I am scratching my head at how it all came to be. The entire arrangement was one grace-filled miraculous event after another, and I haven’t had the time or emotional clarity to lay it all out for anyone. In fact, this confusing thing kept happening in December whenever I tried to talk about it: I would start crying. It was non-consensual. My writing group can attest to this, also the entire board of CFI, and a co-worker or two. So embarrassing.
But here’s why: Jeff was listening to an online sermon from Grace in October on parenting right about the time I began to lose it. You may remember this post from May, which was a beautiful snapshot of God catching a person mid-fall. Unfortunately growth is not linear, and if I had seen in May what our life would look like in October after thousands of dollars of infertility treatments and irritating stories about Women of The Bible who were miraculously healed when God had compassion on them, I don’t know that I would have been up for such a claim of contentment long-term. Evidently my limit for faith-in-adversity is about 17 months, because in October I remember thinking that if someone were writing a book about me, the next chapter would begin: And in their 18th month of infertility, she lost her faith.
I would never have lasted as an Israelite.
Because I believed in God’s goodness and sovereignty and ability to heal, and because I had not experienced a miraculous healing or heart change, I began to doubt his compassion and concern for my life personally, which spread tiny little roots of resentfulness and bitterness. I said to J in November, right about the time he recalled that sermon and looked up the organization mentioned (World Next Door), that I didn’t think my faith could withstand any more months of failure. We could continue as was, each unsuccessful month widening the gap between me and God due to my limited knowledge and inability to separate emotions from truth, or we could stop treatment and preserve my faith, trusting God would sustain us even through the loss.
I phoned my good friend and the pastor who married us for some clarity and truth-telling, and J and I decided mid-November to discontinue medical intervention. The exact moment the decision was made, optimism and joy and the general ability to breathe deeply and peacefully returned. I’m not exaggerating. It was that quick. (Although we still have a fridge full of hormone injections, right next to the milk and mayo, which has made for some awkward dinner parties.)
J, in the meantime, sent me the link to the World Next Door Fellowship, and we agreed this would be a pretty spectacular opportunity if our most recent round of treatment was unsuccessful. We crossed our fingers, prayed for whichever option was best for us, and waited. We applied for the Fellowship and visualized all the details, each day wavering between the two possibilities. One day, we’d pick names for kids. The next day, we’d discuss countries and social issues that would be cool to write about. We stood on the cusp of two entirely different lives.
As you might have gathered, World Next Door won, and we were so pumped! This is why I was confused by all the involuntary crying. I found that as I explained our new purpose and direction for the coming year to others, I was actively closing the door to traditional and evidence-based fertility treatments, because we’d be losing our health insurance and incomes, and so, for the foreseeable future, losing our ability to have biological kids. Additionally, I understood over time that it was hard for me to grasp this opportunity with both hands, because I thought God might be offering this as a consolation prize for not fulfilling our initial desires, which He himself placed in us. Why would he do that? (Yes, I realize I am giving God totally limited human qualities, which is silly. But I have a totally limited human mind doing all my computing, here.)
So here God was, opening a literal door to the world through writing and photography, the only things in time and space that could generate as much excitement as passing down our gene pool, and I was half saying, Thanks God! with one hand, and half saying, You know this doesn’t make up for the other thing, pal with the other hand. Here’s the face-palm moment: I was questioning God’s ability to know our hearts and care about our desires while He was actively fulfilling them in better ways than we could’ve imagined.
Miraculous things followed. For starters, we had to raise $40,000 in two months. Forty. Thousand. Dollars. Can you even conceive of that? We never believed it would be possible, but then it was- in excess, with no stress! God used 62 people as instruments to move a giant mountain necessary to implement His plan to ease the suffering of hungry widows and disabled orphans and trafficked kids. Do you know what this means?
Not only is God compassionate, but he hears the cries of people suffering right now, today, just like he did thousands of years ago, and he is sending help via 62 of you, and me and J, and World Next Door, and tons of other people and organizations, to restore hope!
…Which led to a total paradigm shift. Instead of the resentful thoughts about bartering my opportunities in life with God, another thought crept in: I can’t believe we get to do this. How could God pick us to do something so special? Which ultimately led to, in the words of Moses: Who am I?
Seriously, who are we that we would get to do this?
To quote Barry, the Founder and Director of World Next Door, who preached at church last Sunday on this very topic (get your little coffee or hot tea and your snuggly blanket and watch this, it’s good: http://vimeo.com/60488892) We- the people of God, the church- we are God’s plan A for the restoration of this world. So. Now. Go.
And so, now, we go. Into the Beautiful: